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Rebels drop game one of series to State, 5-2

Rebels drop game one of series to State, 5-2

STARKVILLE, Miss. – As one might expect, the battle of nationally-ranked, in-state rivals Ole Miss and Mississippi State was tight from the beginning Friday night. Both teams wanted to set the tone for the rest of the series.

Typically on a Friday night in the SEC, runs are tough to come by. This was the case once again when No. 6 Ole Miss (25-8, 8-4 SEC) and No. 4 Mississippi State (25-7, 8-4) faced off in game one of the critical SEC West series as the Rebels fell to State, 5-2.

(Click here for box score.)

Gunnar on the mound

Gunnar Hoglund, outing after outing, has shown why he continues to be the Rebels’ Friday night ace, and tonight was no exception. He threw seven strong innings, allowing just four hits, three runs, and no walks as he limited State to no “big inning.”

Hoglund added nine strikeouts to increase his season total to 87.  Entering the weekend, the former first-round draft pick sat at number two nationally in strikeouts recorded. Friday’s game was fourth outing of the season the junior threw in excess of 100 pitches.

The righty took the hard-luck loss dropping to 3-2 in 2021.  After the game, head coach Mike Bianco described Hoglund’s outing:  “…terrific…maybe three mistakes on the night. He was once again brilliant…gave us an opportunity. (But) we just couldn’t do enough, couldn’t muster enough offensively.”

Plumlee’s web gem

A defensive “web gem” was turned in by right felder John Rhys Plumlee early in the game.  No stranger to the Egg Bowl rivalry, Plumlee covered ground and made an outstanding sliding catch toward the foul line. Following the catch, he seemed to make some new friends with the State fans in the outfield.

Game recap

The back and forth affair saw State strike first with a single run in the first inning.  Ole Miss answered back in the third inning to tie the game when Cael Baker scored off a two-out Peyton Chatagnier single. Baker had reached base with a single of his own.

In the fourth inning, the Rebels would take the 3-2 lead with one swing of the bat from T.J. McCants’ home run to right field. The freshman has now hit three homers on the season.

(I) saw it spin up and he (the State pitcher) left it over the plate so I attacked it and got a good barrel on it.

TJ McCants on his home run

Looking ahead to the remaining games, the center fielder says he encouraged his teammates to “…just keep competing . . . we’ll figure it out.”

The 2-1 Ole Miss advantage would be short-lived as the Bulldogs would answer with a home run of their own in the bottom of the frame to tie the game. State later took the lead for good in the sixth, before adding two large insurance runs in their half of the eighth that would give the Rebels a 5-2 loss in the opener.

Quick Hits

– Ole Miss fell to 25-9 on the season and 8-5 in SEC play.
– MSU extended its lead to 249-210-5 in the all-time series.
Kevin Graham extended his reached-base streak to 27 games.
TJ McCants and Jacob Gonzalez each extended their hitting streaks to nine games.
– McCants hit his third home run of the season and is one of six Rebels with three-plus homers on the year.
Gunnar Hoglund went 7.0 innings for the third time this season, striking out nine, his sixth outing with nine or more strikeouts this season.
– Hoglund didn’t walk a batter, recording his 27th career outing with two walks or fewer allowed.
Derek Diamond made his first career relief appearance.
Hayden Dunhurst recorded his ninth multi-hit game of the season and was the only Rebel with multiple hits on the night.

(Quick Hits are courtesy of Ole Miss Baseball.)

Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville.

Hotty Toddy!

(Feature image credit: David Perry, The Rebel Walk)

About The Author

Chris Muller

Chris is our Director of Baseball Content and Senior Baseball Writer. Muller is a 1995 Graduate of Ole Miss. He is a collegiate recreational sports professional currently residing in Arlington Texas with his wife of 24 years, Amber, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Sophie. Chris is an avid Ole Miss Baseball and Football fan. His hobbies include watching college football and baseball and playing poker with his friends.

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